You hired professional movers and your move-in date is set. You’ve exhausted the gamut of advice from friends and strangers on what to do: made a moving checklist, stuffed your wine glasses with socks and newspaper, and saved a nearby pizzeria’s number to your phone. What’s next?
Moving is a lot of work, even with the help of professional movers. It’s an exciting start to a new chapter of your life, but comes with a lot of uncertainties – especially if you’re moving cross country. Most moving tips and hacks focus on packing, but what about the before and after? Here’s a list of 16 uncommon tips to make preparing, packing, moving, and settling in as smooth as possible.
Survival Kit Backpacks
The first few days of a move can be tough for kids and adults alike. You probably already have a box of snacks and bottled water ready for moving day. That’s a great start – but take it all out and start over. Make individualized survival kits for each person using backpacks instead.
Backpacks are great for survival kits because they have plenty of pockets for organization. They are easy to carry around, and can be customized to fit the particular needs and desires of each individual family member. Whether this means different dietary concerns, emergency supplies, or beverage preferences, this small measure goes a long way for comfort.
Consider including the following items:
High protein snacks to keep your body going all day
Plenty of bottled water or a reusable water bottle
An electrolyte beverage of choice, like coconut water (or Pedialyte for kids)
Travel-size toothbrush, toothpaste, and deodorant
Two outfits to change into
Don’t try to pack enough snacks to substitute for meals – consider ordering takeout or picking up some frozen pizza to make mealtime easy until your kitchen is in order.
Take advantage of an empty house
If you are able to, make a trip to your new home the day before the move to clean and do some general move-in maintenance. It’s much easier to clean an empty home, so take the opportunity to scrub the counters, clean the shower, and wipe down windows. Since you’re bringing cleaning supplies anyway, grab a box for your bathroom – get the shower curtain up, situate your toilet paper, and have medicine and first-aid supplies organized.
Take videos and photos of property damage
Are you renting a new home or apartment, or preparing to leave your current rental? This is a perfect opportunity to obtain evidence of the physical state of the property while it’s empty. Record a video walkthrough of the interior and exterior, and take detail photos of any damage or excessive wear, both inside and outside. Save these to help you easily settle any disputes over your security deposit.
Anticipate possible problems
Take some time to anticipate difficulties and hazards. Some common things to watch out for:
Irregular steps on stairs
Mossy porches that may be slippery in the rain
Interior or exterior doors that need to be taken off or propped open
If you have particularly large or awkwardly shaped furniture, you could save a lot of frustration by measuring before deciding to take it with you.
Get free moving boxes
You may not have to spend a single penny on boxes for packing. General stores and most small- to mid-sized chains discard more cardboard boxes every week than you can imagine. Most stores are happy to give you access to them, so don’t be afraid to ask!
Organize and label boxes strategically
Using colored tape to color-code boxes by room is a popular method of organizing belongings during a move. Go a step further and throw patterned tape into the mix. Use patterned tape to identify which rooms boxes belong to, and use colored tape to signify which boxes are fragile and which boxes need to be opened first.
Red tape is ideal for fragile boxes. It’s very easy to see, and we associate the color red with fragility very quickly. This will help your professional movers easily see which boxes need to be handled with care, and will prevent setbacks from unpacking mishaps. Green tape is great to signify priority, and will help speed up the unpacking process when you’re ready to get each room situated. Even if you don’t have a box that needs to be opened first for a particular room, putting green tape on one will help keep up your unpacking momentum by giving you a clear objective.
With boxes organized by room, priority, and fragility, you can keep labels simple. Labeling is most helpful for boxes that contain belongings that need to be organized or placed in and on furniture, such as clothing or silverware. If you have a small room with only a few boxes, labeling will likely waste more time than it saves.
Enlisting local movers takes a lot of work off your hands, especially if furniture assembly was included in your moving quote. There’s still work to be done, though! Cut down on time wasted looking through your boxes for important tools and supplies by keeping everything you need to unpack and assemble furniture in one box. Keep the box in your vehicle during the move so you know right where it is. Don’t forget these items:
Box cutter or pocket knife
Screws and nails
Drill – remember to charge it!
As soon as you arrive, find a spot in a low-traffic room that won’t get cluttered. Put important things here, like your unpacking box, survival kit backpacks, and keys.
Keep special hardware with its furniture
Furniture and toys that need to be assembled occasionally come with strange tools or hardware. Oddly shaped screws and hex keys are the most notable offenders. Losing this hardware means you need to take a trip to the store before you can finish getting settled into your new home.
Don’t keep your special tools and hardware in your unpacking box. They are likely to get mixed up, and won’t be anywhere near most of the furniture in question. To make things easier for you – or your professional movers – put each set in a small snack bag. Secure the bag to its respective piece of furniture or object. If you’re worried about tape damaging your furniture, tie the bag to it with string or twine instead.
If you have the time, moving is a great opportunity to downsize. You don’t have to become a minimalist overnight, but having fewer things means less clutter – and a smoother move. Some charities will even come to your home to pick up large loads of donations. If you have anything that is simply unsalvageable and needs to be disposed of, we’ve got you covered with affordable junk removal.
Consider storage as an option
Even if you are moving from a small apartment to a large house, scout out options for storage near your current residence and your new home. If your couch doesn’t fit through the door or you decide last-minute that you really don’t want to bring that huge piano, you’ll need a place to keep them until you can deal with them. Compared to other costs of moving, storage is typically inexpensive.
Storage is also great to keep in mind when attempting to downsize. If you have a large number of items that you’re having trouble deciding what to do with, storing them in a secure location outside of your home will help you see what life is like without them while giving you more time. Oscar’s Moving Company provides short and long-term storage solutions in Boston – contact us to see how we can help you.
Check the weather – twice
Whether it’s rain, snow, or shine, preparing for the weather will make your move more comfortable and successful. Check a week ahead of time and again the morning of your move so that you can dress accordingly and prepare for the drive. If you’re expecting precipitation, laying towels down on carpets in high-traffic areas can help cut down on mess.
Update your address
Updating your address is an important part of moving. Remembering every single website, service, and account that requires an address is borderline impossible. Instead, immediately start a list of anyone and anything that requires your address. Try to add as many things as you can from memory. Then, every time you receive something important in the mail, like a monthly snack subscription or your cellphone bill, add it to your list.
Two weeks before moving, update your address for every item on the list, and remember to forward your mail with the US Postal Service. The process of changing an address can take days or even weeks with some companies, so don’t wait until the last minute. Make sure you don’t forget:
Your license (check the DMV website)
Bank and credit card accounts
Car, health, and life insurance
Schools, colleges, and universities
This is also a good time to add your address to websites that you commonly use, like Amazon and Chewy, so you can easily order when you need to after the move.
Schedule your utilities ahead of time
Call ahead to schedule the start date for all of your utilities. Do this well in advance – at least two weeks, if possible. Complications with last-minute scheduling can cause delays that will leave you without power, internet, and water for days or even weeks. Give the utility companies plenty of time to minimize complications.
Trash removal is a utility that is often forgotten. Will your new house or apartment have roadside trash pickup? Do you need to buy a permit for the town dump, or are there special rules for a shared dumpster? Make sure you know what your trash situation is before you arrive so that you don’t have garbage sitting around your home.
Check the quality of your water
Ask your landlord, agent, or seller about the quality of the water at your new home or apartment. Tap water that comes from a city supply can vary widely in quality, and wells often provide hard water filled with minerals that carry a strange taste. Hard water can leave stains on dishes and clothing, dry out your skin and scalp, and cause or worsen acne. If you have access to the water, you can purchase a home testing kit yourself.
Consider purchasing a water filtration system. There are various types that are good for different goals:
Sink faucet filters remove most particles from drinking water and greatly improve the taste. Most can be switched on and off.
Shower head filters soften water for bathing to prevent damage to your hair and skin.
High-capacity inline filters are fitted in the pipes for your sink, shower, or washer to improve water quality.
Whole house water softeners and filtration systems are usually installed in the basement and provide general improvement to your water quality for all purposes.
If you are renting, you’ll have to check with your landlord for any filtration system other than a pitcher or faucet attachment.
Stay up to date on social media
If you’re moving to a new state, county, or even city, check your favorite social media services for official accounts for police departments, governors, mayors, and news stations. Many of these use Twitter, Facebook, and other platforms to disseminate information about events and laws specific to their local area. It’s a great way to stay updated on important matters, and will help you find interesting things to do once you’re all settled!
Join buy/sell groups on Facebook
Search for buying and selling groups specific to your county, city, or town on Facebook. These groups are great places to find cheap or even free furniture and other items, and provide an easy way to sell anything you decide to get rid of during or after your move. Some groups are for particular categories, like vehicles or kids’ toys. Community events and happenings are often shared in these groups as well.